With all the sabre-rattling and armed conflict in the world today, it amazes me how all sides, in their own behalf and against their "enemy," invoke the name of "God." (Or whatever name they use for divine power. Letís use "God" for simplicity.)
Do these folks really believe God is on their side and against their enemy? And what about the enemyís God?
This makes no sense to me. Does it to you?
"Coincidentally," after I wrote the above introduction to Josephís message, a dear friend sent me a story Mark Twain wrote years ago in protest to the American military invasion of the Philippines.
The story is titled The War Prayer. In it Twain gives his own interpretation of what people are really praying for when they ask God to take their side against their enemies. Hereís his interpretation:
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle - be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.
"O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it - for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!
"We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts.
Here's Joseph's perspective:
Dear ones, whatever or whoever you perceive the divine power that rules the Universe to be, your perceptions are often flawed. You generally ascribe to this divine power (letís call it God to simplify our conversation) qualities and characteristics that are - we think your term is - anthropomorphic. That is, you view non-human beings as having human traits. And that simply is not the case.
In the matter weíre discussing today, the view of most humans (at least those who believe in God or a god) is God is on our side and against our enemies. Therefore, you pray to him/her/it for victory to you and defeat to your enemy.
Can you see how flawed such an attitude is? If God created all that is, if God IS all that is, then how can God take up your cause and rail against your enemyís cause? It ainít gonna happen, dear ones! God does not take sides.
In fact, itís impossible for God to take sides. How could he/she/it - who is, after all, ALL that is - partition itself and favor one part over another. That is utterly impossible. And that view is utterly human.
The only way a human could pray to God for victory in battle (which obviously means defeat for the other side) is because he/she has a limited, anthropomorphic, and just plain distorted, idea of what God truly is.
When it comes to war, God doesnít care who wins, who loses. Those are human struggles and God takes no part in them.
What God does do, however, is to allow all humans to play their game, whether the game be making love or making war. Games are supposed to be fun. However, and we donít need to remind you of this, your games are often anything but fun for you. And thatís okay with God.
God loves you all unconditionally and eternally. You are loved. Period. And "you" means all of you - you and your enemy.
God loves you so very much he/she/it is willing to allow you total freedom to play out your life game any way you choose. You are all free to create whatever reality you want. But you will not get it done in this lifetime, or in any other. In fact, you will never finish creating your realities.
You are eternal beings of light. Growth is your game. Youíre destined to play the game forever. And God doesnít care how you play it. Thatís because you are God. And you get to do it your way.
No matter how terrible or tragic any event appears from your human perspective, itís all part of the game. And in the "end," you all win when you remember who you are. When you remember youíre creating the world youíre experiencing, because you are God, every one of you.
And youíll all make it Home - you and your enemy. You ARE your enemy. Your enemy IS you.